LATLIT TRAFFIC upgrades road infrastructure and promotes traffic safety

The project has addressed increased traffic volumes and deteriorating road infrastructure in remote areas of the Latvia-Lithuania border region by making upgrades to roads and their infrastructure and raising public awareness of traffic safety issues.

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" Cross-border experience was exchanged among the partners and target groups, including youth, mass media, municipalities and consulates. Information was distributed on both sides of the border thus bringing neighbours closer and attracting more visitors to Latvia and Lithuania. Road improvement activities in the Latvia-Lithuania border territories have created a more attractive image of EU external border regions and a higher quality living environment. "

Ilze Stabulniece, Manager of Latvian office, Euroregion 'Country of lakes'

From 1997 to 2007, traffic volumes on roads in the Latvia-Lithuania border region increased by about 2 % a year. After the two countries' accession to the EU, they rose further still, in some cases by 15.8 %. This was largely influenced by the amount of heavy traffic, which went up by as much as 27.1 % a year.

The resulting deterioration of road surfaces, allied to the poor quality of infrastructure such as street lighting and pavements, compromised safety, with high accident levels on local roads. It was also problematic for heavy vehicles to negotiate some of the junctions in the region, while bridges and culverts were often not strong enough to support the increased traffic loads. Additionally, the lack of road signs in many places caused problems for visitors.

Infrastructure improvements and traffic safety awareness raising

The project tackled this situation by improving roads and road infrastructure and raising public awareness of traffic safety issues. These are considered important priorities for sustainable development in Latvia and Lithuania.

Technical documentation was prepared for upgrades to 39 sections of urban and rural roads, totalling over 41 km in length. In addition, 29 sections of road with a total length in excess of 14 km underwent reconstruction. These roads ran through 23 urban and rural settlements in the 15 municipalities covered by the project.

Five public awareness campaigns on traffic safety were organised in the 15 municipalities, all of which are situated in remote areas either side of the border. As well as contributing to traffic safety and improving conditions for road users, the upgrades have made it easier for groups such as people with disabilities and parents with prams to get around.

Alignment with local and national strategies

Maintaining road infrastructure is one of the most important tasks of local authorities. All of the work under the project was completed in line with the aims and requirements of the strategic documents, developmental policies and territorial plans of the regions and municipalities involved. It was also aligned with EU targets for cutting road deaths, Latvian and Lithuanian strategies for traffic safety and development of infrastructure and services, including transport systems, as well as highway codes and other relevant national laws.

By promoting cross-border cooperation on traffic safety, the project has contributed to increased accessibility and sustainable and cohesive socio-economic development in the border region. This should support business development and economic competitiveness, while helping to raise living standards and making the region more attractive for residents and visitors.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “LATLIT TRAFFIC (Harmonious cross border co-operation in traffic safety of LV-LT border regions)” is EUR 3 669 970, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 3 119 474 through the “Latvia – Lithuania” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

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